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Posted by on May 15, 2014 | 0 comments

Pain in the Shoulder

Did you know that shoulders are the most movable joints in your body?
Or that shoulders are unstable because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it?
The shoulder is one of the most commonly injured body sites among athletes.
For you weekend warriors, golfers, football players and pitchers preparing for Spring, avoid those common pains that come with an active shoulder. Sprains, strains, dislocations, separations, tendinitis, frozen shoulder, fractures, arthritis…the list goes on.
  • Approximately 50% of all Golfers have chronic pain in their shoulders and back
  • 82% of football shoulder injuries occur to the quarterback, during contact with an opposing team player.
  • Approximately 35% of high school pitchers will experience shoulder pain or a shoulder injury in their life.
  • 13% of all sports injuries involve the shoulder


Remember R.I.C.E +
Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation + Chiropractic Care
Believe it or not, the treatment that you undertake within the first 24 hours following an injury can literally cut weeks off of your total recovery time. Use the RICE technique and visit your doctor as soon as you can for your best recovery!
At home, be sure to rest your injury for at least a few days, use ice to reduce pain, wrap your injury to help reduce swelling, and sit upright to keep your shoulder elevated.
Visit your chiropractor! Home treatment is a start, but to reduce pain, speed up the healing process and help to prevent further injury, make sure to see your chiropractor for the appropriate adjustments or treatments.
Back To Life Chiropractic
4045 E. Bell Rd, Suite 107
Phoenix, AZ 85032
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Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 | 0 comments

Vitamins: What to Take, What to Skip

What you need, and how to get it


By Amanda Gardner

Vitamins and minerals are essential to any diet, and research suggests they may help prevent cancer and heart disease, not to mention other health problems. But reality check: Many studies have been conducted on vitamin-containing food, but not necessarily supplements.

In fact, if you eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fortified food, you’re probably getting all you need. But supplements do offer an easy, just-in-case form of health insurance.

Do you need them? Here’s a quick guide to beneficial nutrients and what they can do for you.


Found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and green peppers, among other foods, this antioxidant is converted in the body to vitamin A and is important for healthy vision, a functioning immune system, and good skin. But the evidence isn’t really there to recommend it for staving off cancer. In fact, a 2004 study found that supplements may actually raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Bottom line: Skip the supplements if you’re a smoker, and try to get your beta-carotene from fruits and veggies, whether you smoke or not.


Our bodies need calcium—mostly found in dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese—to maintain healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Bottom line: Supplements aren’t a bad idea if you hate dairy (and can eat only so much kale and canned sardines), but you may want to skip them if you’re prone to kidney stones or are a female over 70. A 2010 report linked supplements to heart-attack risk in older postmenopausal women. If you decide to go with supplements, don’t take more than 500 milligrams at a time, and pair them with vitamin D to improve calcium absorption.

Folic acid

Folic acid, which prevents neural tube defects such as spina bifida in babies, is found in fortified breakfast cereal, dark green vegetables, legumes, citrus fruit juice, bread, and pasta.

Bottom line: Getting 400 micrograms a day of this B vitamin, and 600 if you are pregnant or lactating, is a no-brainer. That amount should come from food, supplements, or both, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The jury’s still out as to whether folate combats cancer, heart disease, or mental illness.


You may not love the foods highest in iron (liver and other organ meats), but the mineral is critical for the proper functioning of red blood cells and, therefore, the prevention of anemia.

Bottom line: Try to get iron from dietary sources, which also include lean meats, seafood, nuts, and green, leafy vegetables. However, you may need a supplement if you’re anemic, or your doctor might prescribe them before surgery, says Jessica Anderson, a registered dietitian with the Coastal Bend Health Education Center, at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, in Corpus Christi. Women, especially those who are pregnant or menstruating, might also benefit.


There is limited evidence that multivitamins may help prevent breast cancer, and an NIH panel in 2006 wasn’t convinced that popping the pills was worth it. Neither is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which said the only benefit could be to reduce cancer risk in people with poor nutrition. And a large 2009 study failed to find any beneficial effects of the vitamins for cancer or deaths among postmenopausal women.

Bottom line: Multivitamins aren’t a bad idea if “you’re on the go,” Anderson says. “But don’t expect major lifesaving benefits.”

Read the rest of this article at Health.com

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Posted by on Aug 23, 2012 | 0 comments

Stop Popping Your Neck!


I recently discovered a WikiHow article entitled “How to Crack Your Neck.” Let me ask you this… Have you ever felt compelled to skip the dentist’s office, reach for your rechargeable Dewalt drill, and attempt to fix your own toothache?

Pretty silly, right? Well wrenching your neck from side to side hoping to elicit pain relief isn’t much smarter.

I’ve lost count how many times someone has asked me if it’s okay to “crack” their own neck. In case you’re wondering too… the answer is a resounding NO. It’s never okay to manipulate your own neck, no matter how good you think it feels.

The cervical spine is one of the most delicate and complex parts of your body. It consists of joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels, as well as your lower brainstem and spinal cord. Arteries along the sides of your neck are responsible for sending blood directly to your brain. Meddling with it for momentary relief is ill-advised.

Read the rest of this article at Check the Neck

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Posted by on Aug 2, 2012 | 0 comments

How’s Your Pillow Posture?


People are rarely taught what position to sleep in or how many pillows to use. That’s because sleeping is innate. But have you ever taken a moment to assess your “pillow posture” (how your head is positioned while sleeping)? The position that’s most comfortable and “natural” for you might be creating preventable health problems…

How Many Pillows Should I Use?

Your head and neck should be lined up with the rest of your spine. Click here to see an example. This is quite difficult to achieve if you’re using multiple pillows. So sleep with just onepillow beneath your head. Make sure it’s thick enough to provide adequate alignment, but not so thick that it angles your head upward. Also make sure it’s not too thin, otherwise your head will tilt down when you’re lying on your side.

I recommend a firm low-loft latex pillow for most patients. These are neutral, affordable, and won’t break down like conventional fibers. High-loft pillows are tempting, but these are more suitable for people with broad shoulders. Here’s a picture of the difference.

An additional body pillow or separate knee pillow is fine to use as well. They’re not essential, but can help prevent you from rolling onto your stomach during the night. Here’s a contoured knee pillow for side sleepers, and here’s a bolstered knee wedge for back sleepers.

What Sleep Position is Best?

There are essentially three main sleeping positions – side, back, and stomach. While comfort is highly subjective, proper alignment isn’t. The best sleep position is one that promotes a balanced spine. Back and side sleeping can achieve this; stomach sleeping cannot. If you choose to sleep on your stomach, go for it, but you should know that over time this can cause damage to your spine and its supportive structures.

What Type of Damage?

Generally speaking, spinal damage can range anywhere from minor/moderate to severe. To avoid mass hysteria, I’m not suggesting that sleep position will cause severe problems like paralysis… But it can compound minor/moderate irritation and pre-existing spinal misalignments into measurable damage over time. I’m referring to things like hyper-mobile joints, muscle spasm, vertebral disc thinning, postural distortion and other arthritic changes.

This leads to chronic neck, back, or arm pain that can limit your ability to work and do the things you enjoy… Simple tasks like driving a car, swinging a golf club, and holding your baby can become quite uncomfortable. Here’s how to train yourself to quit.

What Does it Feel Like?

It’s tempting and logical to assume that you can feel the effects of spinal decay. While I wish that were true, it’s not always the case. The process can develop very quietly over 10-20 years (or longer) without any urgent symptoms. By the time a person finally decides to seek treatment, it may be too late. This type of decay is irreversible, so it’s important to take care of your spine while you still have options.

Read the rest of this article at CheckTheNeck

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Posted by on Jul 24, 2012 | 0 comments

Can Chiropractors Adjust Too Much?


When it comes to how often patients should be adjusted, there’s a difference of opinion amongst chiropractors: Is it better to over-adjust or under-adjust? In other words, is a patient better off receiving more adjustments than necessary, or can chiropractors adjust too often?

I’ve met chiropractors who proudly recommend over 100+ adjustments per year! On the opposite end of the spectrum, I know chiropractors who only recommend semi-annual checkups.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that the fewer adjustments a person needs, the better off they’ll be… More importantly, the longer they go without needing to be re-adjusted, the healthier their spine and nervous system are… But let’s see what the developer of the Chiropractic profession had to say about this issue (emphasis his):

“Frequently over-adjusting CREATES new conditions which average Chiropractor may alibi as retracing when in fact it is what HE is doing that creates NEW dis-ease growths.”

Bear in mind, the intended audience for this statement was his fellow chiropractor, not patients. So please forgive the technical jargon… Here’s the basic translation: “Doctors, if you adjust patients too often, you’re going to create new problems. When this happens, don’t try and justify it by saying it’s part of the healing process.”

Read the rest of this article at Check the Neck

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Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 | 0 comments

Understanding Your Spine

By: Stephanie Burke


Inside Your SpineSpinal anatomy is a remarkable combination of strong bones, flexible ligaments and tendons, large muscles and extremely sensitive nerves and nerve roots. Without question, the anatomy of the spine is a marvel of nature.

Importantly, the spine provides our bodies with:

  • Structure to allow us to stand upright and move with precision
  • Protection for the spinal cord and nerve roots to safely relay messages to and from the brain and the rest of the body
  • Shock absorption capability as we move about
  • Flexibility at the joints to allow us to bend, twist, move our heads and adjust to a wide variety of positions.
  • Strength provided by the bones, discs, joints and supportive muscles and connective tissue.

For more information, see the following article on:

Most of us take this juxtaposition of strength, structure and flexibility for granted – until something goes wrong. Once we have neck pain or back pain, we’re driven by a need to know exactly what is wrong and what it will take to relieve the pain and prevent a recurrence.

Starting at the Top of the Spine

The cervical spine (neck) supports the weight of your head and protects the nerves that come from your brain to the rest of the body. This section of the spine has seven vertebral bodies (bones) that get smaller as they get closer to the base of the skull.

  • The top two segments are unique: The top cervical segment (C1) is a ring that is attached to and rotates around the second vertebral body (C2), which acts as a post. Most of the rotation in the neck is located in these top two segments.
  • The next five vertebral segments (C3 – C7) are like the rest of the spine, with three joints at each segment, including one disc in the front and paired facet joints in the back.

Most episodes of acute neck pain are due to a muscle, ligament or tendon strain. This type of injury is usually caused by a sudden force (e.g.whiplash from a car accident), or from straining the neck (e.g. carrying something heavy, cradling the phone on your shoulder for too long).

For patients with neck pain that lasts longer than two weeks to three months, or with predominantly arm pain, numbness or tingling, there is often a specific anatomic abnormality causing the symptoms (such as aherniated discspinal stenosis, etc.). Treatment options will differ depending on the diagnosis. For more information, see the following article:

The Upper Back Is Not Usually a Source of Pain

The 12 vertebral bodies in the upper back that are attached to the rib cage make up the thoracic spine (middle or upper back). The firm attachment of the rib cage at each level of the thoracic spine provides for a great deal of stability and structural support, and very little motion.

Because there is limited motion in the upper back, it is rare for a thoracic disc to herniate or degenerate. However, irritation of the large back and shoulder muscles or joint dysfunction in this area can be very painful. For more information, see the following article:

Read the rest of this article at SpineHealth


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Posted by on Jul 12, 2012 | 0 comments

Frozen Shoulder: Causes and Treatment

What Is Frozen Shoulder Syndrome?

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that causes restriction of motion and pain in the shoulder joint. When a patient develops a frozen shoulder the capsule surrounding the joint contracts and bands of scar tissue called adhesions are formed within the joint. The contraction of the capsule and the formation of the adhesions cause the shoulder to become stiff and movement to become painful.  There is great variation in the severity and length of symptoms. Untreated, on average the symptoms last 2-3 years in total before going. In some cases it is much less than this. In a minority of cases, symptoms last for several years.  Weakness in your shoulder, upper arm and back muscles will occur over time from lack of use; this can create an imbalance in your muscle strength (as the stronger muscles have to compensate for the weaker ones) and cause muscular strains and alignment issues.

Who Does Frozen Shoulder Syndrome Affect?

Frozen Shoulder affects about 1 in 50 adults at some stage in their life, and usually affects women more than men and often occurs between the ages of 40 -60 years.  Patients will experience severe loss of motion in the shoulder with pain that can travel down the arm and into the wrist. Usually the pain is dull and achy but can become sharp and severe with sudden movements. Lying on the affected side and lifting the arm above the head can cause the pain to become worse, making sleep and daily activities difficult.  Stiffness will progressively get worse and can last for many months unless treatment occurs.  Either shoulder can be affected but most commonly it is the non-dominant shoulder. That is, the left shoulder in a right-handed person. In about 1 in 5 cases the condition also develops in the other shoulder at some stage.

What Causes Frozen Shoulder Syndrome?

There are several potential causative factors for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome:

  • Failure to properly treat the shoulder after trauma or surgery,
  • Long periods of immobilization, or,
  • Although frozen shoulder is not a form of arthritis it can be caused by arthritis in the neck and/or shoulder,
  • Often times there is no known injury or cause and in these cases poor postural alignment of the shoulder girdle and head and neck can increase pressures on the shoulder leading to pain, inflammation and possible frozen shoulder over time.
  • People with diabetes and thyroid conditions are at risk for development of this condition.
Read the rest of this article at Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic Blog
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Posted by on Jul 5, 2012 | 0 comments

Understanding Low Back Pain (Lumbago)

By: Ari Ben-Yishay, MD

Lumbago is the general term referring to low back pain, and the two terms are often used interchangeably.

The underlying causes of low back pain can be complex and are not always readily apparent. When determining the underlying cause of lower back pain, two main factors help guide the physician in making a preliminary diagnosis:

  1. The type of low back pain – meaning a description of how the pain feels, what makes it better or worse, when it occurs, and
  2. The area of pain distribution – meaning where the pain is felt, if it is confined to the low back, or if the accompanying leg pain is worse than the low back pain, or if the pain radiates elsewhere in the body.

This article is aimed at helping patients understand how physicians evaluate the area of pain distribution in helping to diagnose the source of a patient’s low back pain and determine initial treatment options.

Principles of Lumbago

Before discussing the specific types of low back pain, it is important to understand a few important principles.

Pain does not always reflect the extent of damage. The severity of pain from low back problems is often unrelated to the extent of physical damage present. For example, a simple pulled muscle in the low back can cause excruciating pain that can limit one’s ability to walk or even stand, whereas a even a large herniated disc can be completely painless.

Diagnosis is often difficult. There are many anatomical structures in the low back that can cause severe lower back pain and/or pain that radiates into the legs and/or feet. These include:

      • Soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments and tendons
      • Bones, which provide the structural building blocks of the spinal column
      • Facet joints, which allow the spine move
      • Discs (the outer rim of the disc, the annulus, can be a source of significant low back pain due to its rich nerve supply and tendency towards getting damaged)
      • Nerves, which branch out from the spinal cord in the low back and innervate the legs and feet

All of the above structures are interwoven to make up the structure of the spine. During embryological development there is a great deal of overlap of nerve supply to all of these structures making it nearly impossible for the brain to distinguish between problems with one structure versus another. For example, a torn or herniated disc can feel identical to a bruised muscle or torn ligament.

Read the rest of this article at Spine-Health

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